SEO Vs SEM – what is it and why do you need it?

- October 15, 2020 3 MIN READ

It’s easy to get bamboozled by jargon – we give you the lowdown on why SEO and SEM are essential and how they can help you get your business seen by more people online.

You may think having a great business will be enough to get you noticed on search engines such as Google. However, SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (search engine marketing) play a crucial role. Fantastic SEO and SEM will decide whether you turn up on the first page of search results or wind up lost somewhere on page 15.

According to Yellow Online’s Chief Marketing Officer, Hayley Jovanovic, having an SEO strategy is crucial to the success of any website.

“It’s really important that Google likes your website! Research shows many people searching online prefer to click on organic ads, rather than paid ones. So if you want to reach as large a customer base as possible, it’s important to optimise your website to appear in top organic search results too.”

What is SEO

Search Engine Optimisation plays a large role in ensuring your site is visible in Google’s (and other search engines) organic search results. SEO should form part of your brand’s organic search marketing strategy. Unlike SEM, which relies on a paid campaign to achieve results, SEO is more organic. It focuses upon the values of keywords, your content, and their appeal and accuracy to weight your site. To see the benefit of SEO, you need to develop a strategy that optimises not just your website structure but your keywords and content. Doing so will make your site more attractive to search engine crawlers.

SEO techniques

There are dozens of tactics you can attempt to increase your brand’s search rankings and its appeal to crawlers, but some you should immediately give a go are:

On-page SEO  

With on-page SEO, you optimise each page of your site to target a specific keyword(s) to search engines. This allows search engines to understand the content on your page. Doing this will result in higher rankings.

Offpage SEO

How much authority does your website have? Your site’s reputation and authority are built by the number of quality sites that link to it. The better the link building, the higher the authority. The higher the authority – the better your search result. If lots of other sites link back to you, search engines believe your site is more trustworthy. Trust equals better ranking.

Technical SEO

Optimising your technical SEO means improving the foundations of your website. It requires a deep dive into the non-content elements of your backend. It relates to site speed, indexing and how simple it is to crawl. Whether your site is optimised for mobile is also essential and structured data and site architecture come into play. Technical SEO is about user experience. How user-friendly is your site?

Now, what is this SEM thing?

Unlike SEO, SEM uses paid tactics to increase brand awareness and move a website up the search rankings. While an SEO strategy is a slow burn, SEM can deliver more immediate results for a business. An SEM strategy usually involves setting up a paid search campaign. Most commonly, with pay-per-click marketing.

Hayley, from Yellow Online says a good SEM campaign will increase your brand’s visibility and raise awareness of your business online. Campaigns can target the best keywords for your product or service to have your business climb the ladder in search results.

“If you want to connect with customers fast – SEM is the way to go. It allows you to reach an audience who is actively searching for your product and services. This is pretty special, as traditional advertising can’t be this targeted or fast.”

Google Ads is the most common search provider that is used for pay-per-click. Conduct your keyword research right, and you will be able to create a campaign that will see your ads appear at the top of a search result. The great thing about pay-per-click is you until a user clicks on your ad, you won’t be charged. While generating clicks is great, another benefit of SEM is your brand becomes more recognised simply by appearing at the top of the search.

SEO and SEM may sound like two sides of the same coin, both help raise brand awareness, both use keywords, and both intend to drive more traffic to your website. Most importantly, both deserve a place in your marketing strategy.

Get on top of search and stay there with a Yellow Online SEO or SEM campaign.



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